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Patrick Russell

Patrick heads the non-fiction team at the BFI National Archive, where he has worked since 2000 and has led several major archival projects drawing on the British tradition of documentary and non-fiction filmmaking.

Patrick’s curatorial specialism is the history of industrial and sponsored film, and their equivalents in today’s contemporary corporate media. Among the archive’s rich holdings in this field, he cites as his favourite the film and video collection of the National Coal Board.

He co-edited the books Shadows of Progress: Documentary Film in Post-war Britain (2010) and The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon (2004) and is the author of 100 British Documentaries (2007) and several chapters in edited collections.

Patrick can be contacted at:

Articles by Patrick Russell

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  • Film that saved babies’ lives wins best charity film award

    Celebrating short-form filmmaking across the charity sector, the first Charity Film Awards gave top prize to a St John Ambulance film teaching people how to deal with a choking baby. 

    Thursday, March 16, 2017


  • Memories from the mine: the day I filmed Paul Robeson

    One day in 1949, the iconic actor and singer Paul Robeson made a visit to a coal mine near Edinburgh to perform for the miners. The National Coal Board sent a camera crew to record the performance, which director Peter Pickering recalls in this exclusive new interview nearly 70 years later.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017


  • Shooting the message #23: Pretzel Films

    In the latest in our occasional series looking at big hitters in the world of modern agency filmmaking, curator Patrick Russell looks at the auteurist approach that gives bite to the work of Pretzel Films, whose past clients include Swarovski, Primark and Network Rail.

    Monday, January 9, 2017


  • The best British TV of 2016

    BFI curators select their favourite homegrown television of the year.

    Friday, December 16, 2016


  • From the Magazine

    Wolfgang Suschitzky obituary: a cameraperson of the world

    Patrick Russell commemorates the photographer and cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky, who has died aged 104, and we republish a centenary tribute and list of 19 of his finest film accomplishments.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2016


  • This Is Colour: the restoration of an early Technicolor gem

    Curator Patrick Russell talks us through the pleasures of the 1942 film This Is Colour, shot by legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff and now newly restored to its original, beautiful colours.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016


  • Remembering John Krish (1923-2016)

    Our tributes to the great British filmmaker John Krish, who has died aged 92.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016


  • EVCOM Screen Awards 2016

    Dubbed the Oscars of specialist video, the EVCOM Screen Awards this year recognised more than a hundred projects commissioned across the corporate and charity sectors. 

    Thursday, May 5, 2016


  • The films that built Out of the Rubble

    A guide to the archive films that feature in Penny Woolcock’s new documentary Out of the Rubble, which premiered on Film4 and is available online on BFI Player.

    Monday, February 8, 2016


  • Anthony Simmons (1922–2016)

    Curator Patrick Russell pays tribute to the late British director Anthony Simmons, best known for his features The Optimists of Nine Elms and Black Joy but with an equally rich background in documentary.

    Friday, January 29, 2016


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